The stars were aligned last Wednesday. The Little Twin Stars, that is.
At the end of the day, Willie and I both had news to share:
A woman in my office had gone to McDonald's for lunch and had come back with a Hello Kitty watch in her Happy Meal. A perfectly plastic apple-themed Hello Kitty watch, complete with red apple shape and bright green band (and size three-year-old wrist).
Willie had gone to McDonald's that very morning to take advantage of their buy-one-get-one-free egg McMuffin day, and what did he spot in the display case but Hello Kitty watches. Lots of them.
It was done. We were going to McDonald's.
So, on Saturday night, after much anticipation, we hopped in the car and drove the six blocks to the McDonald's in downtown Durham. And there they were: the eight brightly-colored, ridiculously small-wristed plastic San Rio watches. They looked even better all together -- the punk style next to the rainbow style next to the leopard print style. I put both of my arms around the display case to study them more closely and decide which one I secretly hoped they had in stock. Not that it mattered. I was in heaven.
With much excitement, I went up to the counter to confirm that they were still giving away the watches in the Happy Meals. "Um, let me check," the teenager said.
After talking to someone, making a McFlurry, and rummaging around a box, he came back with the news: "Sorry, we're all out."
My stomach dropped. I told him that, in fact, they weren't out because there were eight perfectly good watches in the display case. "Um, let me check," he said.
He got his supervisor, who came up to the counter to see what the matter was. After I pleaded my Hello Kitty display case case, the supervisor told me that he didn't have the key for it -- it was with the manager.
"Well, what time does the manager work?" I asked. I don't believe I ever got an answer, but Willie and I stood lingering around the display case for a few minutes before we left. Not before Willie tried to pry it open with his fingers, though.
I was disappointed and couldn't hide it. I figured we'd try another McDonald's at some point during the week. But it was getting late and we were hungry.
After almost parking near a local bar with decent burgers, we decided to drive around for a minute in search of another McDonald's.
It didn't take long to find an even bigger and more crowded McDonald's. We parked and rushed inside.
The display case empty. A terrible sign.
Still, we went up to the counter to ask the gaggle of teenage girls working behind it if they still had the Hello Kitty watches. They looked at each other and checked with someone working the drive-through window and nodded. Yes, they still had them.
And then my McDonald's guardian angel worker emerged from the gaggle. She had long braids and a perfect gap between her two front teeth. She disappeared into the back for a minute, and when she returned, she was carrying a big box filled of every single variety of Hello Kitty watch.
She watched in amusement as I rummaged around the box to find all eight varieties. I laid them out on the counter to try to decide which ones to get. The other teenage workers behind the counter became more interested, and one of them said she'd be taking home the purple watch that night.
Willie was ordering and I had to decide. I started to panic. He paid for four watches plus a Happy Meal, and I stood there for too long trying to decide which five it would be.
I put the other three back and we left. And then as we were walking to the car, he could sense my not-quite-elated state.
"Why don't you go back and get the rest," he said. "I'll be in the car." If I hadn't already decided to marry him...
The girls behind the counter were not very surprised to see me. My same girl went and got the box, and I paid for the remaining three watches, the three that would complete my collection.
At home, before I even took the food out of the bag, I lined up all of my plastic-wrapped watches. At this point, I had no idea if they would fit me or if I could even wear them. But it didn't matter. They were mine.
I ripped one open to see just how small the band actually was. A tight fit around my wrist. But a fit, damnit.
And although it's either 12:21, 8:01 or 1:39 depending on which Kitty you ask,
P.S. This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Claire, who, in addition to loving Hello Kitty, understands the need for all eight.